Lyn’s House was inspired by the values and ethos of two international movements: L’Arche and Faith and Light.
L’Arche (‘the ark’) is a network of over 150 communities worldwide, where people with, and without learning disabilities live together in community – traditionally in shared residential households. https://www.larche.org/
The focus and vision of the Faith and Light movement is slightly different. Their focus is to build community through local groups, where families, friends and individuals (with and without learning disabilities) live in their own homes and meet regularly to share friendship, worship and celebration. https://www.faithandlight.org/
Lyn’s House combines elements of both and seeks to respond to the particular opportunities of being situated in Cambridge (England).
Cambridge is a city full of university and theological colleges and students (many of whom will go on to shape and lead society in different ways, levels and places) – all in various stages of formation and discernment about their different gifts, places and contributions to the wider world. Because of its reputation for striving for excellence, it is also a place where many people feel huge pressure and fear of vulnerability and failure: people who long to discover they are valued for who they are as whole people – beyond their intellectual ability or whatever they might achieve.
In 2012, a group who had been influenced and inspired by L’Arche over many years began to meet and talk about starting a L’Arche community in Cambridge.
Various challenges and sociological trends at the time (including a shift towards independent living for individuals with learning disabilities, and an increasingly professionalised care agenda) had prompted L’Arche to think about alternative ways of exploring community together and they encouraged the group in Cambridge to try a different model: an improvisation in the spirit of L’Arche.
Preliminary meetings led to an initial vision of:
- A Christian House (hopefully acting as a “hub house”)
- A maximum of four to six residents
- Located in Cambridge
- Living and sharing meals together
- With a commitment to hospitality (for those of all faiths and none)
- Building community with people with learning disabilities
- Working with a group drawing inspiration from L’Arche
Finding a Home
A beautiful Victorian house on De Freville Avenue (named ‘Lyn’s House’ by one of our core friends, who already knew the house and had visited Lyn there) was offered for rent and things took off from there.
Four residents (involved in post-graduate study at the university or at theological college) began to live as an intentional Christian community, developing patterns and rhythms of daily prayer and community into which others were welcomed. The kitchen, community room, prayer room and beautiful garden soon became gathering places for regular meals, prayer, celebration and social events – sometimes in smaller groups, sometimes as a wider community.
Lyn’s House increasingly became a ‘hub house’ for other dimensions of community life spinning out in different directions and ways. Friendships flourished and deepened – Lyn’s House gradually becoming much more of a family network than simply a place – with many people involved in different ways and places.
Moving to Grange Road – Summer 2019
In 2019, we needed to find a new home and friends at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology on Grange Road generously offered us the rental of a lodge in their grounds. Slightly smaller than the previous home, we now have space for 3 residents in the lodge but have gained the use of beautiful spacious community rooms of MBIT for tea parties, prayer and other activities.
The opportunity to live alongside the students and staff of MBIT has been a source of rich blessing, and both communities continue to grow and flourish as we discover what it means to share a kindred spirit together.
A Special Kind of Upside-Downness
In November 2019 we were delighted to launch a book all about Lyn’s House!
Written from different perspectives and disciplines, by a number of people involved in the community in different ways, it gives an excellent account of what makes Lyn’s House so special. For more information please click here.
Lyn’s House is the working name for the Cambridge Friendship Trust, a charitable incorporated organisation registered with the Charity Commission in England and Wales with registration number 1187876. The registered office is: The Lodge, ℅ Margaret Beaufort Institute, 12-14 Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DE.